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Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
December 25, 2015     Quoddy Tides
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December 25, 2015

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25 December, 2015 THE QUODDY TIDES Page 11 Gifted and talented programoutlined by Edward French ing could be set aside for a number of The Eastport School Committee, at its years. Along with the savings on the ini- December 16 meeting, heard about plans tial cost and on gas that would be realized for a new gifted and talented program and with a smaller bus, board Chair Richard a proposal for a music center for the East- Clark noted that the school system will be port Elementary School (EES) and Shead more likely to find people willing to get High School. licensed to drive the bus. The board then Music teacher Robert Sanchez has in- voted to pursue the purchase of a 29-pas- quired about setting up a music center in senger Ford Minotour E450 for just over the former superintendent's office next to $50,000. the elementary school. He noted that us- Calame also presented information ing the present band room at Shead has about heating costs for the schools, noting been inconvenient, since it is shared with that $94,000 was spent last year. Because other users and equipment sometimes has the schools were locked in to a fixed rate, been broken or taken. He would like the they ended up getting "burned" when the music center to become a space where market price dropped below the fixed rate students and community members could and spent $11,500 more than they would get together to produce and record music, have without a fixed rate. He will contin- Principal Paul Theriault stated that the ue to examine costs, which may be a use- music program has been offered newer fal tool in the future, he noted. recording equipment, and he sees expan- Calame also suggested that the schools sion of the program as an asset for the consider developing a five-year plan, and schools. Noting that the building will need it was suggested that staff, students, par- to be inspected and the cost of utilities ents and the community be given the op- will need to be considered, the board ap- portunity to provide input. Theriault noted proved pursuing the proposal, that the schools try to budget for longterm Shead teacher Melissa Mitchell, who is capital costs, but budgets sometimes get a certified Gifted and Talented Program cut, eliminating the funding. Also, state teacher, spoke to the board about the ef- and federal requirements for schools are fort to again start up the program, which "a moving target," he noted. Johnson said has not been active for perhaps 15 years, a plan can help guide the schools in how to Although the school system advertises for use limited resource, but there needs to be a coordinator, the schools have not had "buy-in" from administrators and teachers. anyone to fill the position until now. A subcommittee, including board members Mitchell said an application hasbeen sub- Calame and Meg McGarvey, will be mitted to the state for a minimal amount formed to begin the process. of funding for the program. Local funding Following an executive session, the has been budgeted for the program in pre- board agreed to provide a stipend to EES vious years, but the program was limited, ed tech Lisa Morrison to help with super- The new program will have to follow spe- vising the special education department, cific state guidelines for student selection following the resignation of special ed and screening. Eastport's plan for the pro- teacher Mary Deblois. The school has not gram states that gifted and talented stu- received any applications for the position, dents "need to be given opportunities to requiring some reorganization of the staff. realize their potential and utilize their tal- Morrison's work will be overseen by the ents in productive ways." It adds that stu- AOS special ed director and other special dents in the program "will become ed teachers. independent learners and responsible In his principal's report, Theriault not- community members." Mitchell added ed that the greenhouse at Shead is being that the program also will provide servic- rejuvenated by science teacher Stephanie es to teachers so that other students also Allard and students. can benefit from the enrichment learning. The schools are planning to implement strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism, Other action with Theriault guessing that it could be as Board member Jon Calame presented high as 5% at the high school. He noted information on "options on purchasing a that poverty can be tied in with absentee- smaller-size bus to transport a limited ism. number of students. Superintendent Ken- For students in grades K-4, ability-lev- neth Johnson has submitted an application el 30-minute learning blocks will be used to the Department of Education for state each day. The approach uses team teach- reimbursement on the purchase. He noted ing, with the learning blocks based on that the current school budget includes ability levels and learning styles instead $10,000 for the bus and that budget fund- of grade levels. until midni _L New Year's Ev e most of the store, furniture ne 30-50% offi 52 & 54 Water St., Eastport, ME (207) 853-0800 RECEIVING a delicious assortment of local foods at the Eastport School System's December 17 harvest lunch is elementary school student Shaelyn Barnes, being helped by National Honor Society students Taylah Kilby, Principal Paul Theriault, Matt Harris, Kylie Robinson, Holly Preston and Drew Greenlaw. (Lora Whelan photo) School harvest meal features local foods by Lora Whelan all ages embrace local foods. "It's heart- The Eastport Elementary School gym- warming; it's beautiful," she exclaims. nasium was just about standing room only She's of the opinion that "more kids right bythe time the entire school system's stu- here eat more local veggies than anywhere dent population, teachers and staff bois- else in Maine." When it came to food in- terously came in to have their trays piled spection time, Preston says the inspector with the local foods smorgasbord put to- was blown away by the high percentage gether by Food Service Director Dawn of students using the salad bar. "She said Preston. She's quick to point to the many she'd never seen so many kids with fruit hands that made the harvest lunch on De- or vegetables on their plates." cember 17 work so well, including Dana While Preston had a tray of food sitting Bowen and the high school National Hon- in her office, it was anyone's guess as to or Society students, whether she ever got to it. She was too Healthy Acadia's Washington County busy enjoying the commotion in the gym Food Systems Coordinator Regina and making sure that food was replen- Grabrovac notes that Preston is too busy ished as needed. The students, she ob- to blow her own" horn. Suffice it to say serves, are willing to try anything at least that of all of the food service directors for once. "That's what I tell them. Try it once, the schools in Washington County that and if they don't like it, I'll give them participate in the Downcast Farm to something else." School program, Preston has brought the With the support of Principal Paul The- highest level of involvement to the effort riault and the staff, Preston says her work with the use of 580 pounds of local foods in the kitchen is great. "Everyone is work- this fall. ing together as a team." This includes the There is the added possibility that a National Honor Society students, who fi- Healthy Acadia FoodCorps service mem- nally got to sample the meal themselves ber, Paige Utterback, will start working after all of the other students had been with the school system to more fully de- helped and were moving on towards the velop its farm to school programming. If table full of pies. it does, Preston will be in her element. Grabrovac says, "We hope that more While an average school purchase of local people will acknowledge and appreciate foods is 60 pounds, Preston averages 115 the work that she [preston] has been doing pounds, says Grabrovac. unrecognized for years. Local foods might Food glorious food was in evidence at not cost more but they do typically re- the harvest lunch with ham, turkey, corn quire more prep time -- which is a very on the cob, mashed potatoes, stuffing, precious commodity in a school kitchen. winter squash, a huge salad, beets so ten- The kids benefit by having fresh food that der even those not so inclined agreed they is more nutritious and tastes better. Stu- were toothsome, applesauce, bread and dents who are well fed are better able to more. Preston points to students bringing learn, absorb and participate in school ac- in carts laden with dessert. "The little kids tivities -- that is something that we can all made the pies yesterday. It's so great!" get behind! Next time you see Dawn, give Preston is delighted to see students of her a thumbs up!" WRESTLING with a heavy load of ham for the Eastport schools' harvest lunch of local foods held on December 17 are Food Service Director Dawn Preston and custodian Dana Bowen, with Shead High School students Heaven Auger (left) and Kaylah Kilby (background) ready to jump in and help. (Lora Whelan photo)